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Painter Arabella Proffer at Loganberry Books 

When: Wed., April 11 2012
Phone: 216-795-9800
Price: free
www.loganberrybooks.com
Cleveland-based painter Arabella Proffer never imagined that her surrealistic portraits of punks, goths, and rockers garbed in the raiment of royalty would spawn an empire. “But people kept asking me who they were,” says the 33-year-old artist. “So eventually I started giving them backstories.” Over the years, those backstories evolved into a complete mythology that Proffer finally decided to pull together in a book. Featuring 40 portraits painted between 2000 and 2011, along with with imaginary maps, life stories, and family trees, the 104-page project — The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa: The Art of Arabella Proffer — sometimes seemed all-consuming. “Those family trees had me cross-eyed,” she laughs. “I kept asking myself, ‘Why did I have to make it so complicated?’” Still, fans of fantasy and art no doubt will be delighted that she did: What the artist calls the “marriage of the high brow and the low brow” is crammed full of charming visual surprises. Proffer is celebrating tonight with a 7 p.m. book release party at Loganberry Books. Expect an informal talk, a short reading, and some time for Q & A. A few of Proffer’s smaller portraits will be on display, and a free portrait mini-print will be given away with the purchase of each $31.50 book. Just don’t ask her to paint your portrait: “I only work from my imagination,” she says. “I get stressed out if it has to look like someone real.”

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